Monday, 30 December 2019

Celene the Cephalophore

Celene the Cephalophore is a Black Saint, worshipped and feared. She is headless. Celene has a dozen men who pray to her. They have had their eyes plucked out and replaced with smooth stones from the Black River. They pray to Saint Celene and do her bidding. She carries her head in a basket beneath her cloak, and uses it to cast spells.

You encounter Celene... (d4)
  1. In her wicker fortress. A tall building, like a castle made of square blocks, woven from dried rattan. It shudders in the wind and allows easy eavesdropping through all walls. There are wicker ladders leading between strange split levels, and if you are too heavy you might fall through the floor. 
  2. On opposite sides of a river. Maybe it is fording site, or some place where the undergrowth of the banks recedes a bit. She is seated on a black horse, with some stone-eyed men digging a trench or hewing logs. Her headless torso turns to face you. 
  3. At a crossroads in the rain. She is being carried in a palanquin by six stone-eyed men. Mud has splashed up their black clothes, and wet blood clots have seeped out from behind the river stones in their eye sockets. Herb-scented smoke puffs from a chimney on the palanquin roof. 
  4. Meditating beneath a hanged corpse. Oily black ropes are tied to a thick oak bough. Some men are in the tree, keeping watch. Others surround Celene on the ground, standing guard. She is in a good mood and will use this body for magic. 

Saturday, 28 December 2019

What is in the Pampas and Alpine Foothills of Fossofiore Valley?

Cold wind blows down from the rocky alpine foothills and over the waving yellow grasses of the pampas. Everybody knows that Fossofiore valley is built atop the ruins of the ancient Ilien empire. But nobody lives here now except farmers, shepherds, and some scrubby townies. Mountain crevasses and ruined temples sometimes lead deep beneath the ground, and into the interconnected maze of ancient Ilien rubble. Up above, shepherds lead ibex slowly through the foothills, grazing on undergrowth. Wheat farmers brave bitter autumn winds in the pampas to bring in their harvests. What could you find when travelling over this land?

I was inspired by Chris McDowall's post about his model for small encounter tables, using a d6 and creating variations of the same encounter for richer ideas.

Pampas Encounter Table (d6)
  1. Three farmers' children with long hair (HD:1, AC:11, flail 1d6, ML:5) threshing wheat in a field. Two of them are being lazy. The third has a huge claw-mark scar on their face. 
  2. One farmers child (as above) hiding from his mean father in a cool stone hut. Knows the pampas well, and could guide you anywhere for some food and a bauble. 
  3. Four farmers' children (as above) from two different families, blaming each other for the littlest kid falling in the well, and lowering another thin kid down on a rope after her. 
  4. Three rhea birds (HD:1, AC:11, beak 1d6, ML:3, will flap up right in your face) being chased by a pack of pampas foxes (HD:1, AC:14, bite 1d6, ML:6, pack tactics). The rhea head straight for you to use your group as cover.
  5. One lone rider (HD:2, AC:12, hand axe 1d6, ML:6, can wrangle you with rope tricks—stolen horse is not loyal to him) trying to wrangle a pair of rhea birds (as above). The rider is hungry and has some fine silk rope.
  6. One feral horse (HD:3, AC:13, trample 1d8, ML:7, eyes glow green and mane blows when it casts the spell Dream Spray—clear liquid sprays from its mouth and your latest dream comes alive in front of you) grazing with its harem beneath a line of windblown trees. It charges suddenly if you get too close, and seems crazed or cursed. Begins levitating if its harem is harmed. 
Pampas Rumour Table (d4)
  1. A wheat farmer has cultivated a new strain which floats into the air if it gets overripe.
  2. There are more pampas foxes this year than ever before. They're bigger, too. Which means more fur for trappers to collect, and sell to folks in the lower provinces. 
  3. Some ancient Ilien ruins can be found in the northern pampas. People say it used to be a watch fort. Miguel's dog got loose last month and sniffed around in them—it got cursed with hooves and possessed by some ancient god. 
  4. Tax collectors who work for the Signore hate being sent to the pampas, because the farmers often refuse to pay taxes. The Signore has sent two tax collectors to the eastern pampas and neither has come back. 

    Alpine Foothills Encounter Table (d6)
    1. Two young shepherds (HD:1, AC:11, crook 1d6, ML:5) leading a dozen ibex. They’ve been up in the foothills for weeks and are desperate for company and any news of the valley.
    2. One young shepherd (as above) looking for a lost doe and fawn ibex pair. He is paranoid. 
    3. Four young shepherds (as above) drunk on wine watching buck ibex rut and fight during mating season. The shepherds challenge someone beefy to a wrestling match dangerously close to the fighting ibex (HD:1, AC:12, butt 1d8, ML:7, very sure-footed on the rocks and will try to butt you over a ledge or cliff). 
    4. One tall black metal robot (HD:2, AC:13, strike 1d6, ML:6) stacking stones into something oven-shaped on an outcropping. Butchered ibex, bones and flesh sorted, are laid out neatly.
    5. Three tall black metal robots (as above) are stacking stones in a cairn around a broken fourth robot. Signs of a struggle against some monstrous creature. 
    6. Two frosted yak trolls (HD:3, AC:14, snowball 1d4, fist 1d8, ML:6, very cold dirty fur is hard to get a weapon through) chucking snowballs with rocks in them. They run way faster than expected, and are hurt greatly by fire. Love to eat meat. 
    Alpine Foothills Rumour Table (d4)
    1. There is a town near the abandoned marble quarry that has a shaggy dog named Umberto who serves as Mayor. He's on his second term. 
    2. Ibex shepherds are avoiding each other because there is some disease being spread around amongst the animals. Nobody knows how its being spread, but people have their theories. 
    3. Frosted yak trolls live high up above the tree line. Old Man Santiago saw one carrying its dead sibling during the snowstorm last month. 
    4. Some shepherd found a crevasse that leads into some kind of ancient Ilien machinery complex. She heard clanking noises coming from the deep, so she high-tailed it out of there. She brought back a black metal plate as proof.